Sestina: Because why the heck not?


We were standing in the kitchen, sisters, mother, I, adding salt
To the rising dough, women settled into their lots,
Cleaning the house, preparing food for the men
Our bodies were ready to open for, their bodies, sex-
Driven, waiting to consume us, as hail
Breaks down the barely stalks, as fire

Consumes the under-bracken, the bright fire
That generates rich, clean salt-
Bearing ash that we strew like hail
On the small patch of ground this sex-
Strewn city left us for a garden. The men,

The bright visitors that call themselves men
But are angels, made of fire,
Wearing the flesh-masks of the male sex,
Came into our house smelling of salt,
Clean, flavourful, adding beauty to our lot
In this ugly city. They warned us of hail,

Hard and over-abundant, enough clear hail
To batter out the lives of the men
Who turned this city into a lot
Filled with filth, and this hail would be fire,
The purifying kind that dries sin to salt.
The city-leaders came to our door, scenting sex,

Wanting the white bodies of the visitors for sex,
And our father would not bide them enter, though they hailed
On the door and tried to bribe him with bags of pure salt.
He offered us instead, our bodies, to the men
Who laughed at us, our flesh less valuable to them that the fire-
Skins of the strange, angelic men. Our father, Lot,

Was supposed to be the only good man, but Lot
Still offered us, his daughters, to those rapists for sex,
As though we were nothing but wood for his fire.
I never forgave him, even after the hail
Rained down on us and burnt those men,
Who did deserve it. I looked over at my mother, tasting salt.

When those bright-men came and the hail-like-fire rained down,
Our father, Lot, offered his daughters up for sex. I shut my heart
To him forever, barred him and his angels out, and salted its earth.


About Bethany W Pope

Bethany W Pope was named by the Huffington Post as ‘one of the five Expat poets to watch in 2016’. Nicholas Lezard, writing for The Guardian, described her latest collection as 'poetry as salvation'.....'This harrowing collection drawn from a youth spent in an orphanage delights in language as a place of private escape.' Bethany has won many literary awards and published several collections of poetry. Her first novel, Masque, was published by Seren in 2016. Her second novel, Ordinary Lives: The Ballad of John and Mary, was published in 2018. Follow her on Twitter @BethanyWPope

Posted on April 30, 2012, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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